Wisconsin's Timber Wolf Preservation Society closes its doors

GREENDALE (WITI) -- The Timber Wolf Preservation Society, which has been a staple for Wisconsin wolf lovers for decades, is shutting down. It's the end of a long and, what many are calling successful, era.

At a time when wolves were nearly absent from Wisconsin landscape, the preservation society was a place to go and get to know the animals.

"We had as many as 20 wolves here at one time or more and now we're down to one senior citizen," said Alan Eisenberg with the Timber Wolf Preservation Society.

Timber, the lone wolf left at the preservation, is cared for by Nancy Jo Dowler. She has cared for many of the organization's wolves over the years. Dowler says life led her to that passion after initially visiting the grounds to photograph the animals.

"They were so beautiful so we were coming back every weekend," said Dowler. "I got hooked. I absolutely got hooked."

After the founder of the society passed away, Dowler took over caring for the wolves. She says the relationships she's formed with the animals are unlike anything one can experience with humans -- or even dogs.

"It's an honor and every time you come out you know you have to earn that trust," Dowler explained.

While many people still don't understand wolves, Dowler believes the society has made a difference in Wisconsin during its many years of operation.

"Jim Rieder started this with the vision and the mission and the goal to get wolves back in Wisconsin again," said Dowler. "Through all this hard work, it has come to fruition."

The Timber Wolf Preservation Society officially closed its doors a few weeks ago and is now looking to sell both the property and the society itself.